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Ditched Verizon for Page Plus

My two year contract with Verizon ended last December. Normally I’m skeptical of entering into contracts for cellular service, because I figure they make more money for the provider. But two years ago my wife and I upgraded from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 5 since the latter was 4G LTE capable. And, if I recall correctly, at the time I could only get 4G LTE service through a contract with Verizon.  Though at least I got the phones at a discount, and the FCC required that Verizon provided the phones unlocked, giving the option to walking away with useful phones after the contract was up. Continue reading →

Plica Syndrome is Back?

Back in the late 1990s, I had pain and swelling in my left knee during and after bicycling. Orthopedist after orthopedist told me it was tendinitis, but it never went away with physical therapy and rest. Finally I saw an orthopedist who thought it was something else: plica syndrome. Long story short: conservative treatments didn’t work, so in 1999, I had arthroscopic surgery to have the plica removed. I made a quick and full recovery, and I had no problems during my 2001 ride across America. Since then I’ve had the occasional ache and pain, but nothing more than stretching, ibuprofen, and on occasion a day or two of rest couldn’t handle.

Then one cool morning (45°F) last week, I went for a bicycle ride, and after only seven miles I felt the unmistakable pain and swelling of 15 years ago. My orthopedist had warned me that the plica could grow back. Many people have a medial plica, so it’s not the presence of such that is an issue, the concern is if it somehow becomes inflamed. And now it was back and inflamed with a vengeance. Continue reading →

VO2 Max Testing

I recently read the book 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald, which makes the case for doing 80% of training at low intensity and only 20% at moderate/high intensity. I’ve been making the mistake of running too hard on every run, increasing my chance of overtraining and injury! But if I hold back and go easier on some runs, how do I know whether I’m going too easy or too hard? I know the answer is in using my heart rate monitor (dusting the cobwebs off as we speak), but where to set the heart rate training zones?

That’s where metabolic stress testing, or more commonly known as VO2 max testing in exercise circles, comes in. I found somewhere local where this test is done in a doctor’s office, and so in my case it was covered by insurance. Continue reading →

Photos from Tahkenitch Dunes Trail in Oregon

On another forum, Raina mentioned her run on the Tahkenitch Lakes Trail in Oregon earlier today. What a coincidence, this was an area where Clint and I made a pit stop and did a hike during my Oregon Coast bicycle tour! I shared a few photos on my Day 4 writeup, but there’s no better time than the present to share the rest. (By the way, at the time, I was less than enthused about getting sand in my bike shoes, but the scenic detour was worth it after the fact.) Enjoy! Continue reading →

Tournament of Champions

For the last couple of years, my son has been in an after school chess program held once a week, conducted by Academic Chess. I’ve seen their teaching materials, and they’ve found a way to teach the rules and strategies in fun and interesting ways so the kids can relate.

He was invited to the “Tournament of Champions” which was held at a local mall this past weekend. Frequent readers may know that I’m a former chess master from another day and age. One might think that would want me to encourage him to play and take his chess to “another level”. But growing up I’ve seen the darker side of parents pushing their kids too far, including one parent who would do a harsh postmortem with his child after every game. I don’t want to be “that parent”, and so I supported him going (yet without pushing), just like my parents were to me. Continue reading →

Four Runs in New England

I just finished up a week of visiting family and friends in Massachusetts and Connecticut over Thanksgiving. Since I don’t talk too much personal stuff here, this blog entry is (mostly) about the runs.

I already wrote about the Norwood Turkey Trot I did the day after arriving. Nice weather, and 4 miles in 31:53 for a great run.

Then it was off to our hosts in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The unseasonably warm weather held out for Run #2, where I was able to stay in T-shirt and shorts. I had planned to run 3.1 miles, but I missed a turn, and it turned into 4.3 miles. Continue reading →

Norwood Turkey Trot Race Report

I wanted to squeeze in a race during my trip to New England, and so I found the Norwood Turkey Trot. It was on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, which fit my schedule better than a run on Thanksgiving morning, and it had the added bonus of being a good halfway point to meet up with my friend Bruce at the race. Continue reading →

Dino Dash 5K Race Report

As I posted a few weeks ago, I went to the track and ran 5K in 22:44, a personal record pace of 7:19/mi!  Then a couple of days later I was in Houston on business and managed to clock 5K at 8:08/mi pace, not bad for rolling terrain along a creek.

But after that trip things went a bit downhill. I returned home with a nasty sore throat, although besides that, I was feeling fine. I decided to do some 8 x 400m intervals on the local track, and I was able to do them at about a 6:30/mi pace. But that was hard enough to hurt the ball of my foot and my toes again, just like I did about a year ago. Continue reading →

Another 5K PR!

With the weather finally starting to get a bit cooler in Southern California and a 5K race coming up in a few weeks, I decided to gauge myself by running 5K at the local track. I set a new PR of 22:44 in the process! Continue reading →

iPhone 5 Woes

With my iPhone 5 going on two years now, I’ve had a couple of hiccups with it. My contract is up in December, so I’ll have to live with this phone until at least then.

The first hiccup was a sleep/wake button that stopped working. Luckily it was covered under a free (button) replacement program. I took it into the Apple Store, got a loaner, and then got my original phone back after about a week. Although I was able to copy everything from iCloud to my loaner phone, the passwords for all my apps didn’t get copied. But when I got my original phone back and re-synced it with iCloud, all the passwords were restored. Strange. Continue reading →